For These Women, a FIRE That Burns Too Male and Too White


“I published it and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I was blown away by the response it had gotten,” she says. “It was very clearly needed and wanted.”

Ms. Rozmyn’s list has grown to over 100 names from its initial 30 and now includes different categories: single women without children, single women with children, married women, and so on.

“I wanted to split it up so that anyone can read through and find who might resonate better with them,” she says. (If you’re wondering, she’s on track to retire by 45 at the latest, when her son turns 18.)

If the FIRE women have a matriarch, it’s Tanja Hester, 39, who retired from her job as a political consultant at 38. She wrote a book about her experience, “Work Optional,” and founded Cents Positive, a retreat for women in the FIRE movement in Denver in November. The inaugural gathering was supposed to be capped at 75 people, but demand was so high that she let in 85. (There was still a waiting list of several dozen.) She plans to host another one this year, possibly two, and expand into Canada in 2020.

While none of these women have a silver bullet for saving money, they tend to practice similar habits. They drive old cars, eschew restaurants and bars, turn down social outings, make food from scratch, shop at thrift stores (if at all) and institute “no-spend weeks” (just what they sound like). For fun, they entertain at home or do free activities like hiking.

They’re also quick to point out the obvious: Bigger paychecks make all the difference, even when the job isn’t ideal. Dawn Holley, 39, who writes the blog Stepping Stones to FI, commutes up to three hours a day to and from a job as a medical imaging technician in the Bay Area — which pays more than if she worked closer to home. It’s a far cry from her life as a stay-at-home mother before she was widowed 11 years ago.

“I know what financial insecurity feels like, and I don’t ever, ever want to be in that position again,” she says. “One of my motivations for reaching my FIRE number is to have more time to help other women, especially single moms, do the same thing.”



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